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Southeast Arizona 2015

Part 6:  The Weekend in Sierra Vista (with San Pedro Riparian Area)

Woke up around 5:00, so took my time doing the morning routine, including some things I haven’t been able to do lately, like check Facebook and the weather forecast!  There was actually a flood advisory out this morning, but it didn’t look very threatening when I looked out the window…

Had a nice little breakfast of French toast and crispy bacon, after which I picked up an extra bath bar at the front desk and got the laundry going; I was very thankful that the machines were right around the corner from my room, and they had time indicators on them, so I could come back to the room and try and catch up on the e-mail while that was going!  After the clothes were done it was time to run over to the San Pedro River for an exercise walk/Abert’s Towhee Hunt! J

And exercise we got:  most of the trails were overgrown, and the docent explained that BLM can’t trim them until after breeding season, so you did what you could!  I enjoyed the Gila Woodpeckers raiding the hummer feeders (and the hummers trying unsuccessfully to drive them away ☺)!  On the way down to the river a brilliant Vermilion Flycatcher flopped around, and an equally red Summer Tanager hopped up in a bush.  Flushed some Common Ground Doves that were new for the trip, and down at the river, the chats were going nuts!  One of their funny little notes reminded me of our “artists’” field trip to Patagonia during one of the ABA Conventions and everyone getting a kick out of watching a chat through the scope and waiting for him to do the “funny note”! J

A female Black-chinned Hummingbird bombs a Gila Woodpecker that's raiding her feeder!

   

The male sports a cute little red "yarmulke" while the female (below) has a plain light brown head.

Common Ground Dove bopping along the trail...

Yellow-breasted Chat    His song consists of well-spaced "chatty" phrases; this bird was adding a funny nyuh call!

   

Lesser Goldfinch; those in Arizona are of the green-backed variety.

       

Token butters (L-R:  Western Pygmy Blue, Fatal Metalmark, and some kind of Checkered Skipper...)

It didn’t take long to at least hear an Abert’s Towhee, but it’s always better to see one, so at every river overlook I pished to see what would pop up.  A weird-looking sparrow popped up on a branch that prompted a, “What the Sam Hill is that?!”  Thankfully he sang – the desert race of the Song Sparrow (and he had very little streaking to boot; probably a beat-up adult)!  Yellow Warblers were all over and coming in to drink and bathe, and a little pishing also brought in a Wilson’s Warbler for the trip!  The towhees were teeping and chattering but being very uncooperative when it came to views, but finally one popped up on a branch for all to see!  A couple of higher-altitude things showed up as well (White-breasted Nuthatch and Western Wood Pewee), and a bunting-like pit turned out to be a young Blue Grosbeak!  (Daddy was there as well, also very upset…)  A Gray Hawk dutifully wailed in the distance, and I ran into a group who confirmed that the flickers I was hearing were indeed Red-shafted.  A Yellow-billed Cuckoo gave a single song as well, and the same group I ran into later asked me about a little gray bird they had seen, wondering if it could have been a Gray Vireo (unlikely down here), but we all mused back and forth until it dawned on me that it was probably a Bell’s, and we all laughed over the “Aha!” moment!  I indeed heard one back at the house, and circling around a couple of towhees hopped into the covered seating area, and I just started snapping assuming they were Abert’s, as I had had them at the feeders the last time I came out here on an exercise walk (without the camera), only the Lord suggested I take a look before getting too carried away, and they indeed turned out to be Canyons…  That was my only disappointment – that they no longer had seating areas for feeder viewing, even though they had several feeders set up here and there.

Down in the riverbed...

Scenes along the trail

A Yellow Warbler sings and then chirps brightly while a Chat sings in the background.

Chorus along the trail:  White-winged Doves predominate while a Yellow Warbler chirps incessantly.  A Yellow-breasted Chat joins in at about the half-way mark, joined by the witchety-witchety of a Common Yellowthroat.  Finally a Gila Woodpecker makes conversation near the end.

   

Canyon Towhee near the picnic shelter

   

Bordered Patch

Wandered all over town trying to find the Cold Stone (forgot to check Google before I left) and finally settled on a DQ before coming back here to catch up.  Found out from my Bisbee Birding Buddy Judy (now in Greer) that the Cold Stone closed awhile back L, but she insisted I check out Culver's, which was famous for its ice cream treats!

Cleaned out the e-mail and processed a few sounds before heading to the Texas Roadhouse across the street, but in the meantime we had a fabulous thunder-boomer! J  It was just sprinkling when I left (thankfully I listened to the Lord and ran down to get my umbrella out of the car before the deluge came), but even at 5:00 the place was packed!  But because I was by myself they seated me right away, and because I ordered a bone-in ribeye “walking to the table” it was ready in no time!  Their green beans were delicious, and the steak was to die for, but I packed up most of it and brought it home; the original plan was to keep the whole thing for field food on Monday, but I confessed that I polished off most of it that night… L  (Still plenty of rolls, rice, and a mouthful of meat for Monday, though…)  And when I stepped out of the restaurant, the sun was shining (even though it was still sprinkling)and there was a glorious double rainbow!!  The folks next to me needed some extra time to get out of their car, so I just enjoyed the colors!

Headed over to Village Meadows Baptist the next morning (that narrative and the sermon notes are here), then hit the Culver’s after that, and their food was very good; I really wasn’t hungry because I had a donut for breakfast in SS, and church got out around 10:30, so it really wasn’t even lunch time yet!  But as Judy said, that Concrete Mixer was to die for (and the Lord bemusedly says, “You keep eating the way you are, and you’ll be giving a whole new meaning to the term ‘to die for’!” L)!

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